loaded veggie sandwich

Unfortunately for the sake of time, my lunches are rarely simple sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes I wish they were.  Instead, I make salads, pastas and other meals that while generally can be made ahead, are sometimes a little time consuming, although delicious.

Every once in a while though, something comes over me and a sandwich is all I want.  This most recent sandwich craving left me wanting specifically sprouted bread, tapenade, goat cheese and grilled and fresh veggies.

And this sandwich satisfied just that craving.

Loaded Veggie Sandwich - 2 servings

  • Sprouted Bread or Buns
  • 4 small zucchini
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 oz arugula or spinach
  • 2 roasted red pepper slices
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • 2 Tbsp tapenade

Prepare zucchini and onion. Heat pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and then into 1/2 inch thick slices. Add to pan and cook for about 2 minutes, flip over and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeating until all zucchini has been cooked. Set aside and let cool.

Heat small pan over medium heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil and onion slices. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and browned. Set aside and let cool.

While pan is still hot add spinach or arugula if you prefer it wilted.

Layer bread with goat cheese, tapenade and veggies.

Devour your delicious and very healthy lunch.

project food blog #3: luxury dinner party

All good meals start with prosecco. Don’t believe me? Try it.

Luxury Dinner Parties conjure up an array of memories – I think of my Aunt Frances whose parties always included champagne and caviar. I think of Dinner Club, my parents group of 4 couples who have dinner together once a month and have been doing so for almost 30 years. I’d say they know a thing or two about dinner parties. I think of my friend Mercedes who always has the perfect place settings and exceptional desserts.

But I haven’t hosted many dinner parties on my own. I generally fall back on cocktail party type get togethers. I’m not sure why – maybe because our table only seats 4, our dishes are terrible and honestly, I don’t particularly like having to leave the party to finish a meal in the kitchen!

Challenge #3 was about to change that. Hosting a Luxury Dinner Party for at least 4 was the challenge and I have to say that planning, preparing and enjoying the company of family over dinner was just that – enjoyable. You can expect to see more dinner parties from me!

Planning Ahead:

  • Theme: pick a theme and carry it out throughout all courses, drinks and decor
  • Timing: dinner parties require time management and planning ahead. Sure I would have loved to make the gnocchi from scratch but yoga, work and a drive to Wisconsin did not allow that time – my meal needed to come together quickly. I also know that not everyone has full days to spend on dinner parties. I had about an hour to prep for my meal, and sometimes you may only have an hour (or worse!) but you can make it work!
  • Place Settings: I prefer white plates and cloth napkins with simple decor. Fresh flowers are always a nice touch.

The Menu:

  • Courses: I rarely make a dessert but this occasion called for one. Decide how many courses you will serve.
  • Food: I started with the gnocchi to go along with my Italian theme and since that would be somewhat rich, I wanted the other courses to remain light. Feeling stuffed may mean the food was fantastic but it certainly isn’t an enjoyable way to end the evening. Let’s also not forget that I’m a Nutritionist and a strong believer in portion control. :)
  • Drinks: I always like to start with prosecco, whether the meal is an Italian one or not. I also served Italian Red & White wines as well as beer.

Antipasti: Antipasto Platter: Olives, Artichokes, Roasted Red Peppers, Prosciutto & Pecorino Romano

Insalata: Garden Lettuce & Parsley Salad with Lemon Viniagrette

Gnocchi: Potato Gnocchi with Olive Oil & Parmesan

Dolci: Cannoli Cream with Fresh Berries

Most importantly however is that the host should never be stuck in the kitchen the whole night. You should choose dishes that can easily be made ahead of time, or can be thrown together rather quickly at the end. It’s imperative that the majority of the prep is complete by the time your guests arrive. Oh, and have fun! That’s what it’s all about anyway – sure lucious food makes for a great party, but it all comes down to the company you share it with!

Buon Appetito!

Thanks for your support in getting me to the next round! Voting starts tomorrow for Challenge #3!

entertaining: tapenade

Like most things in life, tapenade from a jar doesn’t even come close to that of home made tapenade. And considering that from prep to clean up it takes less than 5 minutes to make, there really are no excuses to even buy it. I don’t judge though ;)

Creamy goat cheese is my favorite accompianment to the salty olive tapenade. But it also brings wonderful flavor to sandwiches or water crackers.

Tapenade - makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 cups olives from olive bar (I use mostly kalamata with green olives and some roasted garlic)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Place olives and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until it reaches desired consistency. I like to keep mine a little chunky.

Serve with crackers, bread slices, on sandwiches, with hummus, etc.



heirloom tomato bloody marys

This may be my favorite tomato recipe to date. And that’s saying something when you consider recipes like simple summer pasta, moussaka, and grilled bruschetta.

I went through a bloody mary phase, a few years back (clearly I’m in the wine phase now) and it was the only thing I drank for a some time. A little odd yes, but I also owe my love of olives to bloody marys. I was never a fan until I started nibbling the green olives that customarily come with bloody marys. I certainly don’t drink them very often anymore, but organic bloody marys and an over abundance of heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market got me thinking about them again.

But this bloody mary was so very different than any others made with a mix.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back – oh fresh tomatoes, please don’t leave me yet, I’m not ready to give you up!

Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary – 4 servings

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 small yellow tomatoes
  • 1 small green zebra tomato
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 4 oz vodka
  • seasonings: A1 sauce, worcestershire sauce, celery salt, pickle juice, dash of cholula
  • garnishes: pickle, lime wedges, olives, pickled asparagus, celery, shrimp, cheese/beef stick

Roughly chop the tomatoes and pepper, discarding stems. Process with lemon juice until desired consistency. Chill.

Combine vodka, tomato mixture and desired seasonings. Stir to combine.

Fill 4 glasses with ice. Pour bloody mary mixture over ice and top with desired garnishes.



So grab some heirloom tomatoes and make this bloody mary, it’s Friday after all!